I am Twenty-Four and Unashamed

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

I am twenty-four years old and I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I feel the burden to write this now, because some of my peers might assume that anyone opposed to same-sex marriage has already had their mid-life crisis. It is now assumed that anyone who believes homosexuality is immoral is narrow-minded, old timey, unloving, and desperately clinging to ideologies that only worked when the world was flat.

I don’t claim to be cool, but I want you to know that I am not a white pudgy middle-aged man who hikes his khaki pants up to his belly button. I am twenty-four years old, wear Chacos and typing on a Mac. My best friend, Spencer, has black framed glasses and listens to rap music.

You need to know that I am twenty-four and believe that the message of Jesus Christ is good news for the poor.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God and was crucified on a bloody tree in order to marry someone. Jesus has a bride and that bride is anyone who believes that Jesus resurrected from the dead and claim him as the authority over their life and doctrine.

I want you to know that I am not ashamed of this gospel because it has changed my life.
I was in middle school when I hated church and only wanted to fulfill my lustful desires. It was then that I encountered the scriptures and my heart was struck to the core in an incredible way. Here is the headline of my life: I died and Jesus raised me to life and became my everything. I discovered God and yearned to understand his precious Word.

When I believed in Jesus, I became his bride and one day I will see him face to face and experience unhindered joy at his wedding banquet. Jesus loved the unlovable (me) and Jesus now defines my world. His gospel means that I am married to him and he is coming back again to get me. I am not ashamed of this gospel.

It is because of this gospel – and only this gospel – that I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus defines the terms for the world and Jesus designed marriage to reflect his glory. The gospel is about marriage and marriage is about the gospel.

The apostle Paul says that a wife submitting to her husband represents the church submitting to the Lordship of Christ (Eph 5:22-33). When a husband lays down his selfish ambition for his wife, this is a picture of Jesus sacrificing for his bride the church. When we think of marriage, we should think of sacrificial love and submission to the truth of Christ. Homosexuality and so-called gay marriage is contrary to the gospel preached in Ephesians 5. It distorts the true picture of love God that intends to display.

I am not on a crusade to smash anyone over the head with politics or a self-righteous agenda. I don’t have a hammer to beat anyone because my heart has been broken by the Word of Christ. I want the world to know that Jesus died to save sinners and that includes me and anyone who is a part of the LGBT community.

I am not ashamed of this gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. I don’t believe these things because I’m from the South, was raised by Christians, or watch Fox News.

I believe the gospel and all it’s implications because the God of the universe cracked open my hard-hearted soul and gave me faith.

It is my prayer that you will join me in believing this gospel and be unashamed of it. It is my hope that you will extend your arms to your neighbors who are struggling with same-sex attraction and love them like they have never been loved before – with grace and truth.

I am twenty-four and unashamed of this gospel (Rom 1:16). How about you?

For resources on counseling and homosexuality, listen to the Truth In Love podcast and check out the upcoming ACBC annual conference

Cloak Cleaning

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

If you were to ask John the Baptist what you should do in order to repent, he might tell you to clean out your closet.  In Luke 3, crowds came to hear the crazy-eyed, camel-skinned man speak on behalf of God. They came to be baptized and were rebuked. (I have never seen a pastor respond this way when someone responds to an evangelistic invitation.)

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from God’s wrath? Produce fruit consistent with repentance. God is ready to cut you down with an ax! Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

These are strong words from John that demand a response. John is not looking for lip service or a baptismal certificate. He wants everyone who claims God to prove themselves by their works. In one breath he shouts “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29), and in another he demands intentional life change. John would readily agree that faith without works is dead.

The crowds then ask, “What should we do? What does repentance look like for us?”

John tells them to share their shirts. “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” (Luke 3:11 HCSB)

The rest of the passage continues with different groups of people asking the same question and John giving them specific instructions. Tax collectors are to be honest and not steal. Soldiers are to be satisfied with their pay and not bully. Yet the generic call to the crowds is a “spring cleaning” lesson. Clean out your closet and give your cloaks away.

While growing up, my mom would frequently have me “purge” my closet. Out with the old and in with the new. She would frequently hand me a large trash bag and send me on a cloak clearing mission. After loading the trash bag full, we would drive to the local Goodwill. Although I did not realize the significance of this in the moment, I am thankful for this example.

Did you receive another shirt at another conference? Feel free to give it away. Did you get new clothes for Christmas? Bless others who did not receive any presents or could not afford a conference. We only have one back, but most of us have more than one shirt.
Let the poor enjoy your garments rather than the moths. Don’t even be afraid to be so generous that you give away those unworn shirts that have “sentimental” value.

Is there a homeless shelter in your area that is in need of towels, socks, or shirts? Is there a woman’s choice center that could use some of your closet? Is there an international student that could use some good clothes? Is there someone in your church who is in need?

I wonder what John the Baptist would say if a group of us Americans went down to be dipped in the Jordan. Would he exhort us to store up treasure in heaven where moths cannot destroy?

This Spring, let us allow Jesus to walk into our walk-in closets. Let us allow Him to clean our hearts and our wardrobes. We might be surprised that purging our closets is proof that Christ has purged our souls.